Flexible electronics—circuits that can be printed on substrates such as plastic—enable products such as the curved smartphones and TV screens that have been released in recent years. Molex Incorporated is now expanding its presence in the flexible electronics business through its acquisition of Soligie Inc., anounced today.
Soligie specializes in printed and flexible electronic solutions for applications in medical, military, industrial, lighting and consumer goods, Molex said in a release. Products range from sensor systems, medical wearables, LED lighting, specialized RFID labels, and devices that enable the Internet of Things (IoT). The strategic acquisition of Soligie’s business complements Molex printed circuit-based solutions, including membrane switches, polymer thick film circuits, copper flex circuits and printed circuit board assemblies, Molex added.
“Soligie’s business expands our capabilities in the high-growth field of printed electronics,” said Todd Hester, vice president and general manager, Molex Printed Circuit Products business unit. “With this acquisition, we can deliver a more comprehensive set of technologies and expertise for creating higher value, innovative electronic solutions.”
Soligie brings to Molex innovative design services, process development, prototype fabrication, product development and a range of printing platforms for high precision, high volume roll-to-roll printed electronic manufacturing. These technologies enable the development of custom proprietary solutions that are cost-effective for customers and contain fewer components.
“The Soligie team is extremely excited about the acquisition as it blends game-changing printed electronic technologies with Molex’s highly-skilled engineering talent and worldwide manufacturing and sales network,” said John Heitzinger, president, Soligie. “Printed electronics empowers customers to create products outside the limits of conventional circuitry to deliver best-in-class offerings.”
Soligie was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Savage, Minnesota.
The market for printed electronics applications is estimated to reach $40.2 billion by 2020 with a CAGR of 33.8% from 2014 to 2020, according to marketsandmarkets.
Transparent conductive films (TCFs) – used in touchscreens – and sensors are currently the hottest sectors in printed, flexible and organic electronics, based on an analysis of start-up companies' performance, according to Lux Research.
“TCFs and sensors stand out from the crowd, taking different paths to get there,” said Jonathan Melnick, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, What’s Hot and Timing Moves in Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics. “The steady upward climb in TCFs has come as materials from Cambrios make their way into products like LG’s all-in-one PC,” he added. "Sensor companies' performance has been more volatile but has been on a strong upswing for two years as interest grows in applications like smart packaging and the Internet of Things."
Lux Research's study also found thin-film batteries, reflective displays and OPV rate below average in terms of growth. Among the seven technology categories Lux studied, these areas have below-average momentum scores. Thin-film batteries' market adoption has lagged; organic photovoltaics have been very slow to mature, the researcher said.